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India report card: Perth Test

By Norma Godinho
Last updated on: December 19, 2018 09:24 IST
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Norma Godinho evaluates the Indians after their humiliating loss in Perth.
This is only the third time in its cricket history that India has lost 7 Tests in a calendar year.

Australia took home the plaudits after trumping India by 146 runs in the second Test at Perth.

India had lost the plot in Perth even before a ball was bowled when Captain Virat Kohli and Head Coach Ravi Shastri decided to field a four-man pace attack with no specialist spinner in the final eleven -- part-timer Hanuma Vihari turning his arm to do the spinner's duty.

It was a selection decision as mystifying as Messrs Kohli and Shastri's decision to play left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the second Test against England at Lord's in August when the pitch at the hallowed ground clearly was one for the fast bowlers.

It's time to rate the Indians who took the field at Perth.


K L Rahul: 0/10

KL Rahul is bowled by Josh Hazlewood

IMAGE: K L Rahul bowled by Josh Hazlewood in the first innings. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

What can we say about a gent who does not know how to protect his stumps?

Rahul put on another dismal show in both innings -- 2 and a duck -- beaten both times all ends up with his stumps in tatters.

Josh Hazlewood had him in the first innings with a full delivery, catching Rahul in two minds, only to see the furniture uprooted.

Rahul became Mitchell Starc's victim in the second innings, again done in by an indecisive shot.

He wasn't impressive in the field either, dropping a catch at second slip, allowing Marcus Harris a reprieve. Harris went on to score a decisive 70 in the Australian first innings.

If we could rank lower, Rahul's ratings would have read like the current temperature of Islamabad.


Murali Vijay: 2/10

Mitchell Starc celebrates after dismissing India opener Murali Vijay

IMAGE: Mitchell Starc celebrates dismissing Murali Vijay. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Vijay seems to have issues with his confidence more than anything else.

After getting out for a duck in the first innings, Vijay showed semblance of a fight, combining with Kohli in the second innings on Day 4, before perishing for 20. He was bowled by Nathan Lyon, attempting the drive only to find his stumps rattled.

One long, positive stay at the crease will do him a world of good, glimpses of that he showed us in the second innings in Perth.


Cheteshwar Pujara: 4/10

Although he didn't make much of a contribution in Perth, the man-of-the-match in Adelaide did justice to the moniker 'New Wall'.

His gritty 24 off 103 deliveries in the first innings helped India regain stability after India lost two early wickets -- Pujara stitched a partnership of 66 runs with Kohli for the third wicket.

He didn't last long in the second innings, scoring just 4 -- the ball rose and took the faint edge of the bat on the way to the 'keeper. Pujara was done in by a peach from Hazlewood.

The bowler later revealed that it is Pujara's number they consider more valuable than Kohli's and were happy to see his back early in India's chase.


Virat Kohli: 5/10

Captain Virat Kohli led from the front with the bat with a ton in the first innings

IMAGE: Captain Kohli led from the front with a ton in the first innings. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Kohli savours pressure situations and it was no different when he came out to bat with India in trouble in the first innings on Day 2.

He conjured up valuable partnerships, first with Pujara and then with Ajinkya Rahane, to keep India afloat.

Kohli went on to make his 25th Test century in an innings carved out of beautiful strokeplay that made batting look simple on a demanding pitch. He was struck on the arm by a Starc beamer and needed treatment, but he soldiered on.

His dismissal, a controversial catch by Peter Handscomb at slips made news, but not before his century which he got to with a flowing off-drive to the boundary.

He failed to repeat his good show in the second innings, edging a straight Lyon delivery to Usman Khawaja at slip for 17.

The captain also gets points for the outstanding one-handed catch he took at slips to dismiss Handscomb in the first innings.


Ajinkya Rahane: 5/10

Ajinkya Rahane's counter-attacking half-century rallied India after early wickets in the first innings

IMAGE: Ajinkya Rahane's counter-attacking half-century rallied India after early wickets in the first innings. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

When Rahane came out to bat, India were not in a strong position. But the vice-captain made his intent clear from the get go.

He was in full flow as he cut and drove beautifully en route to his 17th Test half-century.

He looked composed at the crease, taking minimal risk, playing each delivery to merit and running the singles and twos when they came by.

He gave Kohli good company before perishing for 51.

Rahane continued from where he left off, his second innings of 30 adorned by beautiful shots, including a big six off Starc over third man.

But he didn't last long as he slashed at a Hazlewood delivery to hand a catch to Travis Head at point.


Hanuma Vihari: 7/10

Hanuma Vihari celebrates dismissing Marcus Harris in the first innings

IMAGE: Hanuma Vihari celebrates dismissing Marcus Harris in the first innings. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

For a rookie, Vihari showed signs of maturity throughout the Test, coming good with both bat and ball.

Playing without a specialist spinner, Kohli had to rely on Vihari to deliver the goods and the youngster did not disappoint.

Although he was taken for some runs in his first spell, he came back to make inroads into the Aussie innings, taking the crucial wickets of Marcus Harris and Shaun Marsh in the first innings.

He did not contribute much in the second innings bowling 14 overs for no wicket. He scored a solid 20 in the first innings as he joined Kohli to help India near Australia's first innings score.

Vihari gave us a glimpse of a valuable cricketer with his mature batsmanship in the second innings as India chased 287 for victory.

He saw off Lyon safely by adopting the sweep while playing the Oz quicks with patience on an inconsistent pitch.

As long as he was around, India would have considered themselves in with an outside chance to win at Perth.

His resistance was broken on the morning of Day 5 and was dismissed for 28. He has certainly risen to become an asset for the team.


Rishabh Pant: 5/10

 Rishabh Pant looks dejected after being dismissed by Nathan Lyon on day five of the second Test

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant looks dejected after being dismissed by Nathan Lyon on day five of the second Test. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The Perth pitch made Pant jump, dive, stretch and do all sorts of acrobatics while attempting to collect the balls.

While batting with Kohli in the first innings, he showed good defence and played sensibly.

Once Kohli lost his wicket, Pant tried to speed up things. He became victim of his own style, trying to go after Lyon only to be holed out by Starc in the deep.

Pant stuck around with Umesh Yadav for a bit, but could not keep up the resistance, falling for 30.

In India's second innings he looked shaky, played and missed and was unconvincing.

Patience is not a virtue he has and that he proved with bad decision-making.


Ishant Sharma: 5/10

Ishant Sharma celebrates with teammates after dismissing Peter Handscomb in the Australian second innings

IMAGE: Ishant Sharma celebrates with teammates after dismissing Peter Handscomb in the Australian second innings. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Used as an opening bowler, Ishant recovered from a poor spell -- he sprayed the ball all over in the morning session on day one, to eventually finish with 4/41. He ran through the Aussie tail to have them dismissed early in the first session on Day 2.

His only wicket in the second innings came when Handscomb was trapped leg before after shuffling across his stumps.


Mohammed Shami: 9/10

Mohammed Shami celebrates dismissing Usman Khawaja

IMAGE: Mohammed Shami celebratesdismissing Usman Khawaja. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Shami bowled with real fire in the secondd innings.

He went wicketless in the first innings despite bending his back and bowling with immaculate control. His spell was crucial in keeping Australia's scoring under check on Day 1.

Shami finally found the fruits of his labour on Day 4.

The 28 year old took career-best figures of 6/56 with some blistering short-pitched bowling as Australia lost 5 wickets for 15 runs and just managed to put up what was eventually a match-winning total.


Jasprit Bumrah: 9/10

Jasprit Bumrah celebrates Aaron Finch's wicket

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah celebrates Aaron Finch's wicket in the first innings. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

This young man was definitely the pick of the Indian bowlers.

He bowled a probing line and hit the right length in favourable conditions. He was relentless, as he mixed the bouncers with the yorkers and bowled in the channel to give the Aussie batsmen a tough time in the middle.

2/53 in the first innings do little justice to the efforts he put in. He targeted Finch's pads and got his reward when he had the opener rapped leg before for 50 on Day 1.

The next day he got the big wicket of Tim Paine who was batting steadily on 38.

He was just as brutal in the second innings with 3/39. He bowled a beamer that hit Harris on the helmet. Bumrah got his number with a beautiful ball -- Harris attempted to leave the ball, assuming it would move away only for it to crash into the stumps.

It was an exhibition of his art as he had Pat Cummins bowled off a ball that kept low.

He had the dangerous Starc bowled to pick up the final Aussie wicket.

We haven't seen the last of Jasprit yet.


Umesh Yadav: 2/10

Umesh Yadav celebrates dismissing Usman Khawaja

IMAGE: Umesh Yadav celebrates dismissing Usman Khawaja. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The most unimpressive of the four pacers, Umesh made little use of the conditions at his disposal. His 2/136 in the match only justify his exclusion from the next Test.

He got the important wickets of Khawaja and Cummins in the first innings. Thereafter, he had nothing to show, being hammered for runs and going wicketless in the second innings.

His control was horrible and he was just not getting it in the zone. At one point in the second innings, he gave away 33 runs off his 6 overs!

While the other bowlers did way better, Umesh was just not in the mix.

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Norma Godinho /